Note: Keen eyed viewers may notice that the script for this chapter was clearly intended to be broadcast before the proceeding piece, but we retain it here in original broadcast order
Galacteers! We have deployed a series of spy satellites to monitor both enemy activity and strange radiations in the system of Dormientes Draco. Alas it seems the Imperial fleet there doesn’t like us looking at the mess that macguffinite engine thing they took off the Zenithians is cooking up and especially that it will give us solid warning of any more imperial activity in the region, now they are on an intercept course. It’s your job to stop them. The data from these satellites is crucial. Protect Those Satellites!
Alas Saturday I didn’t end up playing War Rocket so Jason and in organised for a Tuesday game. So once again the wargame room of my local gamestore would be filled with the roar of atomic motors and the pew-pew of raygun beams.
I was especially excited to show off my solution for all the scratched paintwork my imperial rockets got from transport:
This was actually a present from my Mum and Brother last Christmas, but it’d taken me ages to get around to cutting out the foam!
Cutting the foam was fairly easy but fussy, and in had to be careful not to cut my fingers. I then cut a layer from the portion removed to use as the bottom layer of the compartments.
Next we see another recent acquisition. A Lego star wars planet Tatooine all nicely pre-painted (some of the planets are much nicer than others), which will do for representing Dormientes Draco till in get around to painting up my Corsec planets. Around it I decided would be a ring of ice-teroids, much like those of Saturn.
We decided to play the scenario form the rulebook where the objective is for the Imperial force to destroy 6 satellites and the Galacteers to protect them. Alas Jason only had half the points required, and as the Imperial force has less points in the mission we went with everything Jason currently has and then scaled down the Imperials to match, So Jason had 100 points of Rockets and I about 60, but as the result had the Imperials look too meagre we bumped up the Imperial side a little to 80 points. We also thought that with fewer forces it might be ok for the Imperial victory to just be a majority of the 6 satellites rather than all 6. So with those Ad-Hoc changes made to the scenario we finished setting up the battlefield.
The battlefield features my new scratch-built satellites (the mushroom like ones can also double as small space stations).
Immediately I saw the danger of the bottleneck ahead of me, and the trouble I could face with my Imperial rockets much more limited turning circles. So I had to be prepared for the swift strike of the speedier and more nimble Galacteers. So it was time for some precision flying!
I kept my class 1 scorpions behind the class 2 raptors where they could easily zoom to the defence should any deadly comets come crashing towards them. And guess what Jason did?
As the fleets continued to close I had my scorpions fall back behind the massive Class 4 Manticore to protect its weakest (but not weak) angle, its tail, protected only by the 360 degree turret. Meanwhile Jason made straight for the ice rings that appear to have formed around the planet as a result of the mysterious Zenithian MacGuffinite Mining Device causing great ice-teroids to form not just on its surface and in its atmosphere around the MacGuffinite ore levitated from the rocky depths but also shrouding it’s moon and leaving a trail of ice across the lunar orbit!
We decided the ice rings would work like an Asteroid field but confer a collision risk only on entering and leaving but still absorbing one hit of firepower at a rocket inside the rings.
Jason, remembering well my Scorpion with a previous successful snipe on his mighty Class 4 Quasar from within an asteroid field in a previous game sent one of his Comets to chance a strike…
Ouch! Down one of the deadly fast Comets already, and uncharacteristic good luck for me again at the start of this game.
As the Imperial fleet ground on, the Raptors falling back a little more to keep the mighty Manticore protected, and Scorpions staying still to cover as much space as possible. The Supernova also had entered the icy rings, had made its roll to avoid collisions and it struck at the nearest Raptor!
And at the same time the remaining of those swift eagles of the stars the class1 Comets swung around to pounce at my class 1 Scorpions backs!
“Galacteeers in front of us, Galacteers to our left, Galacteers behind, Ice-teroids on our right, death lurks in every direction!”
We roll for damage, the Scorpions get through the ambush unscathed… but…
But what is this? Having not moved or fired the Scorpions are going into Delayed Action, to strike before anyone else next turn!
And so they do! Much as I wanted to concentrate both on one target the wide turning circle of the tough Imperial rockets wouldn’t allow that and so each swung round to attack the Comet that had attacked the other Scorpion!
The Manticore marches another 6 inches down the table, the class 3 and class 4 Galacteers slowly edging cautiously to intercept. The remaining Class 2 Imperial Raptor swoops over to blast at the ice-shrouded Class 2 Galacteer Supernova to support the firepower of… the.. Manticore? Oh no! I moved the Manticore just millimetres too far and it’s now out of range! And with my Raptor being a standard and only having only firepower 1 the one hit I can deal out gets absorbed by the ice-ring! Nooooo! And Jason sends the remaining comet to hit the Raptor from behind!
Jason rolls for his combined attack….
Yikes! I just lost both my Raptors. And they usually soak up heaps of fire before they go. Despite taking down two of the super-fast Comets things are starting to look bad for the Imperium and we aren’t even close to the satellites yet!
I decide to halt the progress of the Manticore, wanting to not get into too much trouble with the big guns till I have things more sorted with the little ones as Jason moves up his class 3 Pulsar but keeps it just out of range. The Supernova leaves the ice-ring and moves in behind the Manticore. The Scorpions do their best to turn around and Jason sends his last comet on a short cut through the ice-rings!
In the next couple turns the scorpions fail to harm the Supernova which turns towards the ice fields opposite the planet drawing off my scorpions in pursuit, while the comet snipes at the tail of the Manticore whose return fire is blocked by the ice rings.
Then… the Scorpions catch up with the Supernova!
Then the Manticore leaps forward on a Delayed Action to strike the Galacteer class 3 Pulsar before its backup the class 4 Quasar arrives. I fire both its forward guns and the turret… and roll…
The two scorpions blast the stunned Supernova and… Another 1! Oh and not just any 1, it was one of those 1’s where the dice hovers motionless on the edge with the facing saying 9 for half a second giving all indication that it cannot possibly tip back, then flops back onto the 1!
“Oh that’s just MEAN!” in say to my dice, and get a sympathetic hug from Jason. Then he launches his Class 3 and 4 at my Manticore, and the true horror of the firepower of the forward arc of Galacteers is made manifest! 8 hits! Even the mighty armour of the Imperium’s toughest rocket will struggle to stand up to that! He rolls…
In the orders phase of the next turn Jason rolls for the last Comet as it exits the ice rings, the risk is the same as the class of the rocket so a class 1 rocket has little risk, with only a 1 bearing it ill.
This (mistaken as it turns out) casualty is crucial as now there is nothing as fast as my two Scorpions on the battlefield. The Supernova moves to add it’s firepower to the other ships blasting the Manticore and the Scorpions…. fly away?
“Sorry Sir but we must leave you to your fate” I say as I move them past the conflict.
“Are your Scorpions fleeing?” Jason asks shocked.
“Oh no, they are just heading… For The Objective! Mua-Ha-Ha-Ha!”
“Oh I forgot about that!”
So, 10 hits huh, that’s half of my bag of hit tokens all on one target.
With the mighty juggernaut flagship little more than tumbling debris all that is left of the Imperial task force is a pair of class 1 Scorpions.
The Galacteers move to cut off every direction but they are unable to get there in time to prevent the first satellite from coming under attack.
Jason and I then discuss the nature of damaging the satellites, the book gives the toughness but doesn’t say anything about stun results. They could ignore stuns and so be slightly tougher than rockets, be destroyed on a stun result and be slightly weaker, or despite not moving or shooting still get stunned becoming more vulnerable to a second attack like Rockets. I suggest maybe the latter but I ask Jason his preference and Jason is all for Stuns counting as destroyed! So then I put down my hit counters and roll….
And again from a more dramatic angle
The Galacteers close from all sides as the pair of Scorpions race to the 2nd satellite!
And what do I roll? Another 6!
But now for the trouble! The huge deadly class 4 Galacteer Quasar is up ahead. And Jason cleverly positions it so I can’t strike the next target or the one after it without being in range of its guns! And if I go too far ahead I’ll face the Supernova as well. So I go for the position of least firepower on the Quasar the front side arcs! The back has a 2-firepower shot, the front arc is devastating, but the front side arcs have only a single firepower shot and so is the safest, only 1 hit can be put on one of the two Scorpions (of course, these are the same guns that took out my Class 2 Raptors last game!)
So into this zone in blast my rockets, with one taking the shot from the Quasar as they both shoot at the 3rd satellite. And we roll…
Ok but what about Jason’s roll? He needs a 9 to stun and only destroys a Scorpion on a 10 with just that one hit.
Halfway! I’m halfway to wiping out the satellites! But now there’s a mass of Galacteer firepower in the path and one of my Scorpions is out of action for a turn and vulnerable!
Because my Scorpion is the fastest thing on the table (because we stuffed up the ice-ring collision) my scorpion is the last to move, so now the shoe is on the other foot and the Galacteer player must try and pre-empt my movements and control my options. Jason picks this up quick, moving the Quasar to cover the next satellite while sending the Supernova to finish off the stunned Scorpion. I then again hop into the weakest part of the Quasars firepower so only suffer 1 hit while doing 1 to the satellite.. Further 6s won’t be enough, I’ll need better rolls than that…
Jason and I roll…
Jason’s attack on the stunned Scorpion is a 4! So much for the run of nines. The Scorpion pilot recovers and will be back in the fight!
Now at this point in the game, playing in the afternoon on a Tuesday getting close to 3, an electrician turns up to work on the store. So we lose our fluorescent lighting. And when he comes into the wargame room to let us know the lights will be off for a while he exclaims excitedly “What game is THAT?!?!” So Jason and I take a moment to explain a bit about the game till he has to be on his way. Hopefully we might see him on a Saturday and give him a chance to try it out 🙂
So onwards we play, the stunned scorpion left behind as the Quasar and Supernova move to protect the final two satellites and the light across the sector ebbs and flows… is it clouds moving across the sun outside the store or is the Zenithian device having a strange effect on the star around which the planet Dormientes Draco orbits?
The mobile Scorpion again weaves amongst the Galacteers, threading the needle of the point where the Quasar can only hit with one gun and the Supernova cannot strike at all! I say to Jason that a Scorpion pilot’s family have the funeral the day they are granted the honour of the job! Now they live just for the Empire. The dice tumble across the table….
And Jason’s attack?
One can only dance through the fire of a Galacteer for so long, even with the best armour in the galaxy on your artisan-crafted masterwork rocket!
Only one rocket left and two Galacteer Spy Satellites and a lot of Galacteer rockets remain! Fearing no death as much as disappointing the temporary commander, the missing Princess Taegan or Emperor Marduk the last Scorpion pilot flies right into the debris of his comrade and while the Quasar takes its shot blasts at the satellite as inexplicably the star Dormientes Draco orbits darkens sending the whole solar system into a strange kind of eclipse (or rather the sun outside the window went behind a very thick cloud). Jason and I roll once more….
With The Supernova and class 3 Pulsar nearly caught up to gang up on the Scorpion I leap it ahead of all the Galacteers to strike at the 6th satellite, leaving the 5th for now.
Now my Scorpion is in trouble, if I turn one way I’ll end up crossing over the edge of the table, the other way and I must risk entering the ice-teroid field. I manage to get to the Quasar’s weak point as the sun once more shed some light across the system, and like happened to my Manticore the ice absorbs the one hit it can dish out.
Once in the ice-teroid field in the next turn in decide its do-or-die time for the last Rocket. And I move through the Ice-teroids to where it can strike the last satellite and hope that I finish it off before, or at the same time, the Galacteers wreck that last courageous rocket.
We roll the dice…
Ah, that’s not good, not good at all. Stunned within easy reach of all 3 Galacteer rockets! Jason moves in for the kill!
Jason prepares to roll, but I point out to him the full ramifications of the defence 2 rockets predicament. As you can see in the space I’m pointing to:
7 hits on a defence 2 means automatic stun and a stun result on an already stunned rocket means… KA-BOOOOOOOM! Without even rolling the game is over!
While the scenario as-written requires all 6 satellites to be destroyed that uses much larger forces so Jason was sure this should count as a solid victory for me. We both used some great tactics, I am quite proud of my weaving through the Quasars arcs and Jason’s use of the ice rings of the planet was excellent! It’s a pity we both forgot that the last Comet should only have been stunned not destroyed though; having that chasing down my scorpions would have drastically changed the game and I doubt I would have done so well in that case. Still another awesome game leaving us both eager for more!
“Sir, The last reports from the satellites in the Draco system before the satellites went offline?”
The Galacteer commander looked over at the worry-creased face of the chief scientist and didn’t like the look in those eyes. “Yes, what are your conclusions?”
The strange phenomena of light remission from the star Draco… that’s a terrible tell-tale sign of the growth of an enormous gravitational field within the star, of artificial means…”
“You don’t mean…” gasped the commander.
“Oh yes I’m afraid so! The device on the surface of the planet Dormientes Draco is either turning the star into a wormhole of titanic proportions or it’s turning the star into a black hole!”
“How big a black hole?”
“Well gauged by the rate of its effects on the MacGuffinite deposits and formation of Ice-teroids as it sucks static electricity from the area in the form of heat loss… a super-massive black hole big enough to destabilise the ENTIRE GALAXY!”
“If we don’t destroy those towers there won’t be any empire for Marduk to rule, or free worlds for the Galacteers to protect! For the sake of all life in the galaxy that machine MUST BE DESTROYED!”
Dun-dun-daaah! Tune in again soon for the next exciting chapter of Waaaar Roooocket!